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West Virginia’s Promise Scholarship Increased to $5,000 Annually | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo Provided – Jennifer Kucera-Short, chair of Wheeling Park High School’s counseling office, sits with student Emma Garrison at the high school. Kucera-Short says she is excited about the temporary eligibility changes made to the Promise Scholarship.

WHEELING — More students likely will be eligible to receive West Virginia’s Promise Scholarship which has been increased to $5,000 from its previous amount of $4,750.

Temporary changes to the scholarship’s ACT and SAT test score requirements were announced this week. For 2022 and 2023 graduates, the new test score requirements to qualify for the Promise Scholarship are as follows:

∫ ACT composite score, 21 (regularly 22); ACT English score, 19 (regularly 20); ACT Reading score, 19 (regularly 20); ACT Science score, 19 (regularly 20); ACT Math score, 19 (regularly 20).

∫ SAT composite score, 1080 (regularly 1100); SAT Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing score, 510 (regularly 530); and SAT Math score, 510 (regularly 520).

Jennifer Kucera-Short, chair of Wheeling Park High School’s counseling office, said Thursday she is excited about the eligibility changes to the Promise Scholarship and pleasantly surprised to learn the grant amount had been increased to $5,000. It is the first bump to the dollar amount since 2009.

“We’re happy to hear the news and we’re working with students diligently to make them aware of the opportunity,” she said. “Every little bit helps.”

She said the changes are important because of students’ lives and school years being disrupted the past three years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the pandemic began most schools were closed and students were forced to learn remotely. While some students may have still excelled, many others fell behind in their learning and grades and have been playing catch-up since coming back to class again.

Kucera-Short said she had not noticed the need to give students an extra push to pursue a higher education this year. However, readingjusting to their usual in-school routines has been challenging.

“This school year we’re very glad to have them back in the building. It’s been an adjustment for all the students to get back in the groove,” she said.

She noted some students have needed a little more motivation to take the ACT and SAT — the two tests that are required not only for the Promise Scholarship but for attending many colleges.

“The whole process is very overwhelming for students and we do the best we can help them along the way,” she said. “We definitely try to stay in touch with our senior kiddos so we can be that support system.”

Kucera-Short said after learning of the eligibility changes the guidance department is reviewing which students may now be eligible for it or close to being eligible. The deadline to apply for the Promise Scholarship is March 1 and she has contacted scholarship officials to see if that deadline could possibly be extended.

Even if a student’s first test scores are too low, they can try again in July for the ACT and June for the SAT although the application deadline is March 1.

The Promise Scholarship application is not difficult, but students must also apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which takes more time because it involves tax information, she added.

Park had about 80 students who received the Promise Scholarship last year. The school students typically has more, but with COVID’s impact, there were who did not reach their goals, Kucera-Short said.

“Students have been working so hard to stay on track for their futures, and we want to give them every opportunity to access the support they need to continue their education,” Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s chancellor of Higher Education, said in a press release. “With these changes, we hope students and their families have greater peace of mind as they plan for college over the next couple years.”

To apply for the Promise Scholarship visit collegeforwv.com/promise. To apply for FAFSA, visit fafsa.gov. For help with applications, students and parents can also call West Virginia’s financial aid hotline at 877-987-7664. Students can also sign up to get college counseling via text message at www.cfwvconnect.com/txt-4-success/.

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